Maelin whispered a blend of fey, dragon, and Chinese words into her hands until her skin began to glow a warm green with sunlit streaks. She uncovered her mouth.
Lightning bugs and dragonflies swarmed out of her cupped hands. The dragonflies zrrrted and zrrred in disjointed lines while the lightning bugs glowed in and out of existence.
Isellta glanced around, his mouth open in wonder and simple delight. He held out his hands.
An emerald-colored dragonfly landed light on his wrist. Its mascara line-like legs tickled the fey’s skin.
The dragonfly’s clear stained glass wings flexed nervously.
“It’s okay.” Isellta said gently. He stroked the insect’s back with the lightest of touches.
And suddenly he wasn’t in Jay’s bedroom anymore.
He stood in a humid, vibrantly green forest. The air was deliciously clean and fragrant, holding the scent of new grass and new leaves.
The lightning bugs faded and glowed their love duets in the air.
“Where am I?”
The dragonfly flew out of his hand.
Isellta somehow knew that he was supposed to follow it, but the thought of walking through the humidity made him hesitate. I hurt. If I walk too far, it will hurt more.
The dragonfly returned and hovered in front of his face.
Isellta held out his hand.
The dragonfly darted ahead of him, stopped, and hovered, waiting for him to come.
Isellta took a deep breath and exhaled softly.
He followed it.
The dragonfly led him to Maelin, who was standing on the shore of a bright blue lake.
Isellta gave her a questioning look.
She smiled and gestured towards the water.
The dragonfly returned to him and rested on the middle of the fey’s trec lun bone.
And Isellta felt safe.
He walked into the water without any fear. The water was neither hot nor cold, but the perfect in between. It felt good to walk in it. The ground below the water was soft sand.
Isellta scrunched his toes into the sand. His wings flapped.
So lovely. So soft. I want to burrow my fingers into it.
The dragonfly made a harsh zzzrt with its wings.
He kept walking.
The water ascended from ankle depth to shin depth to knee to thigh and he kept walking.
It splashed and crept up into his groin area and up to his pelvis.
The pain was gone.
And he was once more in Jay’s room without a single dragonfly or lightning bug in sight. He looked down at his clothes.
They were completely dry.
Maelin smiled at him.
“What just happened? Was that a dream? Or was it a vision?”
“Neither. It was a combination of Chinese peace dragon magic and fey magic.”
“Oh.” He thought about it. “So, it was an elaborate fey mind trick.”
She shook her head. “It was more than that. How do you feel? Do you still hurt?”
“No. I stepped into that water and the pain disappeared. Is it really gone? It’s not an illusion, is it? It’s not going to come surging back, is it?”
She came over to him and gently stroked his face.
His wings flittered.
She’s going to do it.
She’s going to turn on me.
She’s going to hurt me.
He averted his gaze and whimpered softly. “I don’t want to be hurt again. Please. Please don’t hurt me.”
Her hand left his face. “I am not playing any fey mind games with you, Isellta. You can trust me. You can trust me as much as you trust Jay. Neither of us will ever hurt you.”
He bit his lower lip and tried not to cry.
“You’re safe. And the pain is really gone.”
Isellta knelt on one knee and bowed his head. He pressed his right fist against his chest. “Thank you.”
Jay leaned against the wall and tried to stop thinking about what he had seen.
What did she to him?
How can he move, how can he still smile when he’s hurt that badly? Is it because he’s a fey? Do they just deal with pain better than humans?
How could she hurt him like that?
How could she?
The poor kid.
I gotta get him out of this place.
I don’t know how.
I don’t know if killing Caten will solve anything.
I don’t know if Preyuna can do anything to help him. She’ll probably refuse.
What can I do?
He leaned his head back against the wall.
There has to be something I can do.
I need to do something.
I need to help him.
I need to save him before that witch can touch him again.
And I’m sure she’ll try again.
But what can I do?